Group Asks that Census Citizen Question Be Blocked

A number of advocacy groups filed a motion on Wednesday, requesting from a judge that he temporarily issue a preliminary injunction about the citizenship question on the 2020 census.

The coalition of groups is asking Judge George Hazel to temporarily block the citizenship question from appearing on the 2020 census while he is weighing whether the administration’s efforts to add it had any discriminatory intent behind it.

According to the filing, the groups are making the request “in an abundance of caution” prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the question later today.

“Depending on the outcome in that case, [the Trump administration] could attempt to seize upon the absence of an injunction to begin printing Census forms with a citizenship question before the [groups] surviving constitutional claims have been fully adjudicated,” the court document states, adding that would “prevent the courts from ruling on the merits of the claims.”

The filing also says that should the census material be printed with the citizenship question printed on it before all the evidence is reviewed by Hazel, “irreparable injury” would be caused to the groups.

The advocacy groups are asking that the decision is made by Friday considering that the Trump administration will likely start printing the materials after it is finalized on Sunday.

“This Court has already found that Plaintiffs will be harmed should the citizenship question be on the 2020 Census, and new studies by the Bureau itself reveal that the negative impact will be much larger than originally understood during trial,” the filing states.

“Finally, the public has strong interests in a full and fair adjudication of whether the citizenship question was motivated by discriminatory animus, and in an accurate count of the population untainted by intentional discrimination,” the groups add.

New evidence suggests that an unpublished 2015 study showed the citizenship question could benefit Republicans, but the Trump administration continues to maintain that it is needed in order to enforce the Voting Rights Act.

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